honoring the dead

First Review: Unfinished Nabokov Novella Sort of a Mess

Remember The Original of Laura, that unfinished novella Vladimir Nabokov instructed his heirs to destroy, but whose serial rights were instead sold to Playboy, sight unseen, for a reportedly enormous sum of money? Turns out it’s kind of a mess! In the first review, Publishers Weekly raves that Laura’s release will have Nabokov “turning over in his grave”:

“This very unfinished work reads largely like an outline, full of seeming notes-to-self, references to source material, self-critique, sentence fragments and commentary (“The whole scene was pretty artificial in a fishy theatrical way”). It would be a mistake, in other words, for readers to come to this expecting anything resembling a novel.”

But all isn’t lost, Playboy readers! If you absolutely must have an excuse to pick up the December issue, PW says “the few actual scenes wedged between the notes are unmistakably Nabokovian, with cutting wordplay, piercing description and uneasy-making situations.” Speaking of uneasy-making situations, when is Playboy’s next budget meeting?

Advance PW Review: Nabokov’s ‘The Original of Laura’ [PW]

First Review: Unfinished Nabokov Novella Sort of a Mess